President Barack Obama has publicly acknowledged our import, remarking in a speech how Black women have historically “helped carry this country forward,” even though “we ‘weren’t always given a voice,’ much less celebrated.”
Black woman have marched, we’ve showed up to the polls, and now we’re going on the ballot. After the 50 year right to abortion ended with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, last summer, we are at “ground zero in the fight over abortion” and reproductive rights.
Since we can’t count on the Supreme Court, protecting the right to abortion is in the hands of legislators. While it is a known fact that Black women are underrepresented in politics, these women are trying to change that. And they’re running for office to save our reproductive rights.
In the history of our country, we have only had two Black women Senators, the now Vice-President Kamala Harris who served from 2017-2021 representing California and Carol Mosely Braun from 1993-1998 representing Illinois. Currently, there are no Black women serving in the United States Senate. Alsobrooks is running to be a Senator for the state of Maryland and Rochester is running for Senate in Delaware.
To date, only “0.4% of all members of Congress…have identified as Black women.” Out of the 435 members of Congress, there are only 30 Black women currently in office. Hayes, Matos, Simon, Sykes, and Underwood are running to try and make that number 35.
There are currently only 8 Black mayors in the country and only “8% of all mayors in [the] top 100 most populous cities identify as Black women.” Historically, only 23 Black women have been mayor. Breed, Lee, and Lyles are trying to bolster those numbers and get elected at the local level to effect change.
It wasn’t until 1928, that we had first Black women who served as a state legislator. Minnie Buckingham Harper “was appointed to West Virginia House of Delegates in 1928 to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, but she did not seek election to another term.” Nearly a decade later, Crystal Dreda Bird Fauset became the first Black women elected to the state legislature in 1939 representing Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. Mitchell is running for California’s Board of Supervisors, District 2. Aird (Strict 13), Lucas (District 18), and White-Boyd (District 04) are running for Virginia State Senate. Adams (District 82), Bolling (District 80), Gardner (District 76), Maldonado (District 20), McClure (District 02), and McQuinn (District 81) are running for Virginia’s House of Delegates.